Preventing a generational catastrophe in education – UN
by Martin Debattista Research Associate 2-minute read
The United Nations has published a policy brief on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic in education and beyond, warning that “preventing a learning crisis from becoming a generational catastrophe requires urgent action from all.”
The document provides a quick overview of how the pandemic has impacted students and educators around the world, with nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries having had heir studies disrupted. The closure of schools has affected 94 percent of the world’s student population, and the low and lower-middle income countries were hit the hardest with a 99 percent impact.
Despite the immense problems that educational systems have to face, the UN’s document also recognises that there are opportunities: “…These changes have also highlighted that the promising future of learning, and the accelerated changes in modes of delivering quality education, cannot be separated from the imperative of leaving no one behind. This is true for children and youth affected by a lack of resources or enabling environment to access learning. It is true for the teaching profession and their need for better training in new methods of education delivery, as well as support. Last but not least, this is true for the education community at large, including local communities, upon whom education continuity depends during crises and who are key to building back better.”
Responding the Crisis
The UN is encouraging authorities and stakeholders to pursue these policy responses:
- Suppress transmission of the virus and plan thoroughly for school re-openings
- Protect education financing and coordinate for impact
- Build resilient education systems for equitable and sustainable development
- Reimagine education and accelerate change in teaching and learning
In conclusion, the UN makes this appeal: “There is unlimited drive, and untapped resources, we can count on for the restoration, not only of education’s essential services, but of its fundamental aspirations. It is the responsibility of governments and the international community to stay true to principles and conduct reforms, so that, not only will the children and youth regain their promised future, but all education stakeholders find their role in making it happen.”
The policy brief is available here.